Monday, May 2, 2016

Matt Kalil

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Pro Bowl was played last Sunday and boy, what a game it was. So many football fans were ecstatic that they wasted precious time of their lives to watch a bunch of professionals play two hand touch.

Not quite.

Not to mention the absolute worst part about the game being that the Pro Bowl was the last chance to watch anyone on the Vikings play football until next July. Well, hopefully these links will cheer people up enough to forget about a life without football after the conclusion of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Ranking the Vikings first round selections

[Note: This reflection on the Vikings’ success in the first round of the most recent decade’s worth of drafts is provided courtesy of Matt Falk from Draft Season. We highly recommend checking out their site for scouting reports of this year’s top prospects with a Vikings slant.]

Over the past 10 years, the Vikings have done a decent job finding talent in the first round of the NFL Draft. While they’ve have had their share of big misses, they’ve also hit on some stars along the way.

Let’s take a quick look back and attempt to rank them from worst to best.

#12 – 2011 – Christian Ponder QB, Florida St. (12th overall)

It’s hard to not feel bad for Ponder. He really never should of have been the 12th overall pick. Due to where he was selected, fans had some unrealistic expectations. Unsurprisingly, Ponder never panned out and struggled through a rocky four years in Minnesota. You’ve, gotta give the guy credit though; he acted like a true professional during his time in Minnesota.

#11 – 2013 – Cordarrelle Patterson WR, Tennessee (29th overall)

Patterson toyed with our emotions during his big rookie season, but has been in a nose dive ever since. While he’s still one of the most dangerous return men in the league, he adds absolutely nothing to the team as a wide receiver. Unless he has a huge turnaround, we won’t be seeing him on the field with the offense, except in August. For now, we’ll just have to get excited when he gets the chance to return a kick.

#10 – 2015 – Trae Waynes (11th overall)

The only reason Waynes is so low on the list is because it’s much too soon to know what we really have in the Michigan State cornerback. He barely saw the field as a rookie, but did show some flashes (along with some growing pains). I would feel confident saying that in a few years, we could see him bumping up at least a few spots on this same list.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

When it comes to trades, the NFL is usually not known for these types of transactions as much as other professional sports leagues have been such as the NBA, NHL, and MLB. However, the league did have a total of 38 trades in 2015 before the start of the regular season that featured at least one player (not just draft picks) and that total is the highest it has been in the last three years.

In the last three NFL offseasons, there have been a total of 89 trades made before the start of that year’s regular season. The Vikings have been involved in four of those 89 trades, including three in 2015.

Will Minnesota and general manager Rick Spielman participate in any trades in this upcoming offseason? If they do, who has the possibility of leaving town?

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We play the role of coach and GM in this week's QOTW

Vikings first round draft
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

It’s far too early to be predicting what the Minnesota Vikings will do in the 2016 NFL Draft, but that’s part of the fun of the offseason. As fans of the team, we can put on our “general manager” hats and pretend to sit at Rick Spielman’s desk for a few months out of this year. And this time around, we’re fortunate enough to have some help from the team at Draft Season. They’ve already provided a number of different scouting reports on top college prospects and recently released their first seven-round Vikings mock draft. With their help, we’re preparing to have the most productive, informative offseason at VT yet.

For this week’s QOTW, I reached out to fans on Twitter and asked for their dream first-round draft pick this year. Many responded, and many provided a flurry of exciting options for the Vikings:

I also asked the team here at VT for their choices, and the answers varied. Check them out, after the jump!

Who is your dream first-round pick for the Vikings this year?

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PFWA All-Rookie Team
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

General manager Rick Spielman’s reign at the head of the Vikings’ draft room began in 2012, when he famously selected Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th pick in the first round. Though that decision was an ultimate failure, Spielman has been largely successful in acquiring college talent. Three of his latest draft picks — Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, and Stefon Diggs — were named to the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-Rookie Team on Tuesday morning.

Spielman’s rookie classes have produced eight players on the annual list. Kendricks, Hunter, and Diggs became the first trio to make the team since Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, and Blair Walsh did so in 2012. In 2013, Cordarrelle Patterson was added to the roster as a kick returner. The following year, Teddy Bridgewater was honored for his solid rookie campaign as the Vikings’ starting quarterback.

Before the 2015 season began, ESPN’s Ben Goessling reported that 39 of the team’s 53 players had “seen all of their NFL snaps for the Vikings.” The continuity illustrates Spielman’s reliance on the draft and conservative approach in free agency. If the Vikings are going to build a roster, they’re going to do it from within Winter Park.

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